Bulldogs coach Jordan Bull is certain his side’s defensive effort defence will be the critical factor on Saturday, as the Bathurst club aims for a third consecutive Blowes Clothing Cup colts premiership.
Bulldogs will square off with Orange City at Endeavour Oval in the decider – the contest pitting together two teams who scored 1,429 points between them during the regular season.
The Bulldogs side averaged 42 points per game on the way to the minor premiership, while the Lions averaged a tick over 37 each Saturday.
“We really need to muscle up up front, our forward pack really needs to stand up. They’ve got some very good forwards, very good breakaways and a classy backline,” Bull said of City.
“I think defence is going to be the key for the weekend really. I think with strong defence, we’ll win the game.”
While Orange City became the first side to beat Bulldogs in over two years when the pair met in round three, Bull’s side won the return fixture and major semi-final against the Lions to be first into the grand final.
It gives his side, who beat Dubbo Kangaroos in the 2015 decider and CSU Bathurst last season, the chance to make it a premiership treble.
For some of Bull’s players, it will be their second grand final appearance in colts and he feels their experience is an important asset.
“Those guys that were there last year will hopefully settle the nerves of the younger boys, so hopefully it pays off. It’s definitely handy having those boys that were along for it last year and it should help keep the guys a lot calmer,” he said.
While Bulldogs began their preparation for the grand final two weeks ago, City had to survive a close preliminary final against the Roos, winning 27-26. Although, the Dubbo side scored on full-time to slash the deficit to one point.
“We trained really well, we had a really good, hard hit-out last Thursday and all the boys turned up with the right attitude. Hopefully the boys take that same attitude and intensity we have had at training into the game on Saturday,” Bull said.
“Last week City had a few out and Dubbo had a few out too. Dubbo had their chances, they only lost by one and had a kick which hit the uprights – it came right down to the wire and I’m expecting the same thing this weekend.
“We are definitely going to have to be on our game to beat these guys.
“I think my boys are ready to go, it should be a good game so I can’t wait.
“It’s been a very successful year for the club so far, having four our of the five grades make a grand final is a good achievement for the club.”
Kick-off at Endeavour Oval is at 10.30am.
- BATHURST BULLDOGS: 1 Jesse Gauci, 2 Joe Summersby, 3 Josh Carter, 4 Fletcher Begley, 5 Jason Corliss, 6 Hamish Davies, 7 Felix Quinn, 8 Dylan Carter, 9 Cameron Redpath, 10 Jim Davis, 11 Campbell Morris, 12 Marshall Fox, 13 Matt Brouff, 14 Mitch Collins, 15 Isiah Ackroyd; Bench: 16 Joel Thomas, 17 Hamish McKay, 18 Lachlan Kemp, 19 Patrick Bower, 20 Jake Ingwerson, 21 Harry Peacock, 22, Matt Browning, 23 Lachlan Melville, 24 Charlie Hinge, 25 Zane Rowlandson, 26 Joe Lemmich
- ORANGE CITY LIONS: 1 Aaron Kilkeary, 2 Nick Fisher, 3 Darcy Holmes, 4 Ethan Bereyne, 5 Mitch Winslade, 6 Hunter Ward, 7 Liam Hanley, 8 AJ McNiven, 9 Tom West, 10 Nick Smith, 11 Will Cranney, 12 Luke Stundon, 13 Lachie Lingley, 14 Hamish Cranney, 15 Yool Yool; Bench: 16 Cam Baker, 17 Ricky Eggins, 18 Jack Nagle, 19 Hamish Ellis-Peck, 20 Treii Saukuru, 21 Cam Thomas, 22 Friedie Williams, 23 Josh Gibbs, 24 Kyle Smith, 25 Tim Dalton, 26 Pat Conners, 27 Lachie Wells